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National Mortgage Professional
Aug 23, 2005

Increase repeat business and referrals with direct mailJoe NiewierskiDirect mail, Promos, Brand Recognition, Postcards, PostcardMania You have been writing mortgages like crazy for the last few years. You have a pretty big database of customers, and hopefully, you have been keeping updated contact information for them, primarily because an organized database is the first key to customer retention. The next step is to develop a direct mail campaign to keep these customers thinking about you when they think about mortgages. Often, customers need mortgage professionals once every few years, and it takes far less than that for them to forget your name. As well as fighting time, you are fighting indifference. Customers who receive great service are often reluctant to pass that information along, while customers who feel they have received poor service tell everyone. Most of the time, good customers need to be reminded of their experience. By following up with each customer on a regular basis, you will not only stay in the front of their mind but also start to build a reputation as a solid and responsible business. So, how do you get started? Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions when starting a campaign to keep in touch with past clients. What Type of Direct Mail Works Best? There is a great debate among mortgage professionals regarding what type of direct mail will work best for attracting new business. Many swear by letters, featuring their appearance of professionalism, while others like the low cost and high visibility of postcards. Overall, both seem to work adequately for bringing in new business. You just need to decide which method works best for you. For keeping in contact with past customers, however, postcards are the best method. This is due to the fact that if your customers are not currently looking for a mortgage themselves, they are far less likely to take the time to open a letter. Most of your "keep in touch" promos in envelopes are thrown out before they are ever read. Since the goal is recognition and not direct action, you only need them to read the message. Postcards have the message visible when mailed, which means that while your customers are deciding what to read and what to throw out, they are already being exposed to your message. How Often Should I Send Promos? You should mail a promo to your database every 30-60 days. Any longer than that and your clients may have already forgotten you when their friends are looking for a mortgage. Since you will want to send a promo frequently, you will need to keep your costs down. With postcards, there are no envelope or assembly costs and the postage is 30 percent less than letters. When using a mail house to send your postcards, you can often receive postage rates as low as 18 cents per piece. What Should I Feature on my Brand Recognition Pieces? There are some basic rules for the design of a brand recognition direct-mail piece. Rule Number One: Stay Color Consistent Many times, people fall into the trap of changing the look of their promo for the seasons or holidays. The rationale is that people are thinking about Christmas or St. Patrick's Day, so they will respond better to promo with those holiday-specific colors. The truth is exactly the opposite: Their senses are so flooded by those images that they actually start to skip right over them. Pick a color for your company and stick with it. You will be more successful in building recognition. Rule Number Two: Design a Logo and Use it on Every Piece Having a clean, professional logo is best. It may be a little pricey to have it designed, but in the end, it is well worth the money. Experienced designers can often charge up to $2,000 for a corporate identity package, including logo, letterhead and business cards. If you aren't looking to make that type of investment, simply pick a type style for your company name and use it every time. Consistency is key because your logo is your main identification point. Rule Number Three: Make it Informative Every piece should have something useful for your customers, whether it is new information about the mortgage industry or even possible investment properties in their area. It can even be completely unrelated to the mortgage industrya calendar or list of emergency numbers, even the old recipe card trick still works pretty well. Anything that is likely to be kept around will help build recognition in the minds of your past customers. The mortgage industry has experienced a huge amount of growth over the past few years. Unfortunately, this growth cannot last forever. At some point, it is going to slow down and the only way to keep your income at levels to which you have become accustomed is to ensure that you retain as many past customers as possible. A direct mail campaign is the best way to do this, but remember, this type of program is a long-term process. Don't become discouraged if you can't directly calculate the amount of money that you generate right off the bat. What you are doing is burning your name into the minds of your customers. Eventually, it will work out, and you will see less attrition and far more referrals. Joe Niewierski is vice president of marketing and promotion for PostcardMania. He may be reached at (800) 628-1804 or e-mail [email protected]
Aug 23, 2005
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